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Published: March, 2007; Vol 3, Num 10

 

New Year’s Resolutions in the Spring? Why not!

By Jamie Becker

The average American makes two New Year’s resolutions each year. Making the resolutions is the easy part. Keeping them is another story. 

By now, it is likely that any kind of New Year’s resolution you made has gone by the wayside. Polls find that by springtime, 68 percent of Americans who made a New Year’s resolution have broken it. 

Thus, now is the perfect time to re-evaluate those resolutions and try to get back on track. Sometimes, the best way to accomplish a resolution is to make it at a time of year of your own choosing, rather than the one dictated by the calendar. Instead of “New Year’s Resolutions,” let’s call these goals “lifestyle changes” to emphasize a more positive and permanent behavior change rather than a temporary and short term effort.   

Among those who have ever made a New Year's resolution, the majority (55 percent) made health-focused resolutions, such as losing weight, getting fit, eating healthier, quitting smoking or cutting down on alcohol consumption.   Since you’re reading this article, chances are that you’ve made similar resolutions. It is likely that you have thought that you can benefit from making at least one lifestyle change. Now is a good time to set the date to make those changes.

In the spring, construction work tends to pick up and hours tend to increase.   An advantage of making healthy lifestyle changes now, before the season gets into full swing, is preventing injury in the short term while also setting a new course to keep yourself as fit and healthy as possible so you can enjoy your job and live a long, healthy life. Construction work is hard on the body and going from the slow winter season to a busier spring requires a “spring training” of sorts. Just as an athlete would never jump right into a full season of baseball or football without pre-season training, you should not jump cold into the busy construction season. Ideally, during the past off season, you worked on staying in shape or getting in shape, but if not, it is never too late to begin. If your busy work season already is in full swing, it is not too late to think about what changes you can incorporate into your daily and weekly routine to be healthier. Regardless of when changes are made, the benefits will accrue.

After one year, only 15 percent of people who make resolutions claim success. The hardest part of achieving permanent change is staying motivated.

Suggestions to help you reach your goals:

  • Break long term goals into smaller, easier to achieve goals; small, gradual changes are more likely to stick over time. Once you reach a goal, you can raise the bar to the next level.     After time, you’ll have made a lot of progress.
  • Renew your commitment. Rather than reviewing goals and making a commitment to change on New Year’s, review your goals several times a year, even monthly or weekly if necessary.
  • Focus on success.  For most of us, it is much easier to focus on how we messed up or what we did wrong with our goals. Instead, we need to focus on what we did right and what we have accomplished. If you’ve had a bad day, focus on the days you’ve done well.
  • Write down your goals and your reasons for them. Refer to them any time you need extra motivation or focus. 
  • The support of family and friends is important to being able to maintain goals. Share your goals with them and don’t be afraid to let them know how they can best support you.
  • Set rewards for yourself along the way toward your goals and permanent lifestyle change.
  • Learn positive coping skills. Rather than drinking, smoking or eating to deal with stress, find new, healthier ways to cope with it. Go for a walk, listen to music or talk to someone.
  • If you get off track, take some time to reset your priorities and recommit yourself; don’t give up.

Basic Healthy Behavior for Positive Lifestyle Changes:

  • If you’re trying to loose weight, take a picture before your efforts begin; re-shoot after every five or ten pounds, depending how much you have to lose.
  • Get moving! It is recommended that one participate in moderate physical activity an hour a day; however, anything more than what you’re currently doing is a plus. 
  • Eat fresh fruits and veggies. They’re low in calories, provide essential nutrients, offer eating satisfaction and supply lots of other health benefits.
  • Drink at least six glasses of water each day. This is a good health habit, and water is essential for almost every one of your body’s chemical processes.

Regardless of when during the year you decide to make lifestyle changes, it is never too late. After just a couple of weeks of a new behavior, you will likely be able to see or feel some positive effects. Hopefully, in time, these changes will become a part of your daily routine and not something that requires a lot of effort on your part. 

The goal of making healthy lifestyle changes is to help you to live a longer, happier life as well as have a longer, healthier and more enjoyable work career.